VILNIUS – The US business community is calling on Lithuania to appoint its ambassador to the United States as soon as possible.
"It's very bad not to have an ambassador there for half a year. We should nurture that friendship through diplomacy," Tadas Vizgirda, chairman of the Board of Directors at the American Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania (AmCham Lithuania), told BNS on Monday.
"Six months without an ambassador, that doesn't look serious," he added.
In a letter last week, AmCham Lithuania urged President Gitanas Nauseda to appoint the country's ambassador to Washington as soon as possible.
Vizgirda believes that Lithuania's former ministers of foreign affairs and defense, Linas Linkevicius and Raimundas Karoblis, should be considered as candidates for ambassadors.
"We have two great candidates who weren't even considered because of 'political cooling-off'," he said. "When two very experienced candidates, especially Linkevicius, aren't considered, I believe that's really regrettable. I'd suggest considering both of them as candidates."
AmCham Lithuania represents more than 150 US companies and business people in Lithuania. The businesses employ over 30,000 Lithuanians.
Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said "every effort" is being made to ensure that the process of appointing Lithuania's ambassador to Washington does not drag out, but he would not name any potential candidates.
"AmCham Lithuania's call is understandable: the political and economic ties between our countries are very intense," Landsbergis told BNS. "We are making every effort to ensure that this process does not take too long and we are looking for the best solution for the state."
"However, it's too early to speak about candidates until the host country's consent to a specific nomination has been received," he added.
Lithuania has had no ambassador to the US since the end of last summer.
Diplomatic sources say Karoblis and Linkevicius had been in recent months discussed as potential candidates for Lithuania's ambassadors in Brussels and Washington.
However, Nauseda has rejected the proposals, saying the former ministers need "a political cooling-off" period.
The president's office said on Monday they would give a comment later.